Centered Eyelets

Several months ago (okay, close to a year ago), I availed myself to Gudrun, of The Loomy Bin, to help me out of a mess I made with my card weaving.  After she helped me sort out why the pattern wasn’t working for me (I was overthinking it), we sat down and looked at some of her latest knitting projects.  She was trying to translate some weaving patterns into knitted fabric as an exercise.  One of the areas that she wanted me to look at was lace.  She wasn’t satisfied with the way lace always leaned toward one side or the other.  There wasn’t a way of centering an eyelet.

I gave her a short lesson on the anatomy of a lace, and how it really isn’t possible to make a perfectly centered eyelet.  The only way I knew how to do it was to do a left leaning decrease, yarn over, and right leaning decrease.  But this decreases 2 stitches to the one increased stitch created by the yarn over.  To counteract the lost stitch, I told her to hide an increase either somewhere in the same row (lace knitting) or somewhere in the next row (knitted lace).

Neither options were terribly elegant.

But now, there is an elegant solution!  Thanks to Janine, I stumbled upon the answer at Schoolhouse Press.  Scroll to the bottom of the bottom of the article for “Pithy Instructions for Centered Eyelets.”  Pure genius!  So simple!  So elegant!

Okay, I’m off to re-write some of my lace patterns to center my eyelets.

Triangle Shawl Sampler

Triangle Shawl Sampler

This is the sampler I made from Evelyn Clark’s workshop. (Click for big.) It has only had a sauna treatment (steam block) because I bound off just in time for the guild meeting and I wanted to take it for the show and tell. The ends are not yet trimmed because it really needs a nice soak in a hot tub and re-blocked before I can call it finished.

Pattern: my own compilation of Evelyn’s stock lace patterns in her book “Knitting Lace Triangles
Yarn: 2 ply spindle spun yarn (Lisa Souza’s Superfine Merino in “Bird of Paradise” colorway)
Needles: US #4, 3.50 mm
Size: Depth: 22″; Wingspan: 50″. Just about the perfect shoulder shawl size for me.

I worked the lace patterns from most open to most dense, and worked all the transitions in between. In retrospect, I should have followed Evelyn’s advice that if you are mixing elements, you want to have denser patterns at the top of the triangle. But by the time she dispensed that piece of advice, I had already worked through to the first or second repeat, and I was too lazy (or stubborn) to rip back and start over.

Of course, if I were to completely do this over, I would have chosen a more solid colored yarn. I think the pattern is busy enough and doesn’t need the competition of the variegation.

I close this post with a detail of the tip, complete with the “mistake” I referenced in the last post. Can you find the mistake if I hadn’t already told you where it was? No? Me neither.

Triangle Shawl - Mistake Detail

Socks vs. Lace

While having lunch with Barb yesterday, the topic went to knitting, as it always does. (Knitting or sailing, or both.) She’s on the look out for a new lace project. For her, lace scarves, stoles, and scarves are the portable projects that she always has on hand. Socks, not so much. Barb is fairly new to sock knitting. Or rather, recently back to sock knitting. So, they still require some level of concentration.

This had me thinking. Yes, I always have one or two (or five) pairs of socks on the needles, but I’m not reaching for those as much as I used to. They are relegated to airplane knitting. At home, or at various functions, it’s my lace projects that I grab for.

I think the reason is that I’m somewhat bored with socks. I love wearing hand knit socks. But I am just plain bored with 8-9 sts/in of plain stockinette in tubes. While there are lots of lovely sock patterns out there, I don’t enjoy wearing them. I don’t like the feel of ridges or patterning on my foot. So, it’s plain stockinette socks for me.

But you would think that if I’m knitting/finishing fewer socks, I would stop buying sock yarn, wouldn’t you? Not a chance. I’m still hoping that all these lovely new sock yarns will bring the zing back to me.

I do have to say, I am loving lace. I love the rhythmic decreases and increases, and watching the pattern unfold. And, I’m less self-conscious about wearing my lace scarves and shawls these days. If my shoulders are cold, I will throw one on. If my neck is cold, I’ll bundle one around my neck. I don’t really care about scrunching up the piece to the point where you can’t see the patterning. I knit them because I enjoyed the process. And I’m wearing them because they give me pleasure. I can’t see the pattern when I’m wearing them. If someone wants to look at it while I’m wearing one? I’ll just take it off for an impromptu show and tell, and throw it back over my shoulders. I don’t need a mirror to make sure it’s “just so.” As long as I’m comfortable.

Baby Blanket


Baby Blanket

Circular Baby Blanket

Yarn: Handspun Superwash Wool from Crown Mountain Farm’s Superwash Merino in “Say A Little Prayer” colorway. I spun 1.5 pounds. The blanket weighs 1 pound 3 ounces. It’s a 2-ply that is spun to DK/light worsted weight.
Needle: US #9
Gauge: 18 sts/4″ (10cm)
Pattern: Variation of the Pinwheel Baby Blanket with Godmother’s Edging from Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury.
Finished Size: 46.5″ diameter

This particular baby blanket was knit up to 50 sts per panel (500 sts around), before I started the edging. At this stage, the blanket was 34″ in diameter. The edging is 6.5″ wide. Believe me, it’s large enough as a nap blanket. As me how I know…

I am not blocking this blanket. I want this to be a drag everywhere blanket for the new mother. And I doubt that she will have much time for anything, except tossing this blanket into the washer/dryer and pulling it back out again.

The center worked up very quickly, but the edging took forever. I timed it to be approximately 2 Tivo hours per panel, or approximately 1.75 hours. Multiply that by 10. There was a lot of TV watching, P&P reading, and wine drinking/socializing during all of this.

The good news? This is a very easy pattern to memorize — both the center and the edging. The center only has 2 rows: increase row and knit around row. Every wrong side row on the edging is plain knit, except for one, so there is only 6 pattern rows to remember. It’s very geometric, so it’s easy to figure out where you are in the pattern.

While none of the components of this baby blanket is original. They are all published information. I thought the juxtaposition of the components are original. But, once I set the blanket on the table for the photo shoot, I realized that something about it looks familiar. I went back to Best of Knitter’s Shawls and Scarves. Yup. Joan Schrouder already came up with the same combination. The only consolation that I have is that Silk Swirl has 8 panels instead of the 10 in the Pinwheel Baby Blanket.

The reason that I think the 10 panel pinwheel and the Godmother’s Edging work so well together is that the edging is a 10 row repeat. So, it doesn’t really matter when you decide to stop; you will always be able to work the edging and be assured that the stitch count will come out right. That is, if you aren’t under the influence of vicodin and somehow messed up your increases. I still don’t understand how that happened.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been on a Jane Austen kick. I’ve re-read Pride and Prejudice, watched Becoming Jane and the BBC version of Emma. During Emma, I looked at the shoulder shawls that the ladies were wearing. Hmm. It’s a lot like the baby blanket folded in half and thrown over the shoulders.

Baby Blanket as Shawl (front) Baby Blanket as Shawl (back)

Yup. It works beautifully as a shoulder shawl. Except that 90+F weather is not the best time to be trying it out. I am thinking that I want one of these for myself, except maybe in sport weight yarn.

Recovery

After weeks of waiting, the surgery is finally behind me. No more second guessing if this is the right thing to do. The post op report says that it’s way past time. They call it a bikini line incision, but I have to tell you, it’s just where that tummy fat pack lies, and it’s not pretty. Besides, I haven’t worn a bikini since I was a teenager, and I doubt that I’ll start now, even if I’m in Rio. It’s amazing how much you use your abdominal muscles for, even if they are out of shape. Getting in and out of bed is a big show. Getting in and out of my leather chairs are also a big deal because I can’t use my lats.

All in all, not much knitting nor spinning going on. Vicodin takes care of most of the complicated patterns (no Mystery Stole knitting), and concentration is crap.

I’ve been working on the Pinwheel Blanket as a baby blanket for a friend. Should be easy, right? Increase every other row, knit around the next. Every section should have the same stitch count. Continue until you’ve achieved the appropriate diameter or until you are sick of it. Well, somehow, I ended up with 3 different stitch counts in the segments on a single round. Yup. 44, 45, and 46. How the heck? 2 different stitch counts, I can understand, but 3???? Anyway, instead of ripping back, I did a clean up round, and now everything is all lined up at 45 stitches per section. The blanket is at about 30″ in diameter. I’ll continue a bit longer and bind off using a knit in lace border. Hopefully, the clean up row won’t be too noticeable.

Imagine, being able to plan vacations without thought about the monthly cycle. Still trying to get my head around that.